“HR is a partner, not a policeman”

Instead of being an enforcer of rules, HR has been a partner to employees in NTUC Income's push for digitalisation.
By: | February 12, 2020

NTUC Income’s commitment to digital transformation has earned Singapore’s largest and oldest insurer the top spot in the Applied Innovation Institute Singapore Insurance Innovation and Digital Benchmark in 2018. In the Final Part of this series, we speak to Juliana Ang, its Chief Human Resources Officer to find out more about how digitalisation transformed the company’s HR.

Read Part 1: Becoming ‘cool’ through digitalisation

A major lesson that Ang took from the process is that in order to get people on board the company’s digitalisation journey, she had to change the way HR is viewed – not just an enforcer of rules, but as a partner to employee’s welfare and professional development.

“Some people think that HR is a policeman, but I feel that HR is a partner,” she said.

So Ang and her team went about shaping a work culture that will attract the kind of employees they are seeking.

“If we want to go digital, then our staff must be savvy. They must understand what being digital looks like. I told my boss that we must change some of our HR processes,” she said.

Her team introduced a HR on-the-go app, which allows employees to apply for leave and submit claims as well as a chatbot for recruitment. A simple conversation about chatbots sparked this idea.

“When our team was talking about chatbots, I said, ‘Sure let’s try it’, and that was how the recruitment chatbot started,” she added.

Examples like this show that anyone can suggest innovative ideas which can be taken seriously.

“We want to create a high-performing culture and build an environment where people can celebrate success. We have since been working towards a collaborative and agile working environment,” said Ang.

Bite-size training

Another significant change that arose from the digitalisation journey is in employee training. Instead of sending its employees for training in a classroom setting, Ang’s team conceptualised and offered programmes through digital platforms such as e-learning courses online, and on topics such as data analytics that could enhance employees’ work across departments.

“Now we have different formats like seminars, short talks about topics like data analytics and in bite-size learning.

“We put employees on learning platform like apps where they can do learning on demand,” she said.

The digitalisation transformation is paying off, said Ang, as it has helped the company to be more appealing to a more diverse range of talent.

“Now, we are able to attract people who want to be in our agile, dynamic and cool working environment. So that’s what we are able to bridge,” she added.